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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Effect of Body-Worn Cameras on Police Use-of-Force

The Effect of Body-Worn Cameras on Police Use-of-Force

Police Foundation Executive Fellow, Chief Tony Farrar, recently completed an extensive year long study to evaluate the effect of body-worn video cameras on police use-of-force. http://www.policefoundation.org/content/chief-tony-farrar

This randomized controlled trail represents the first experimental evaluation of body-worn video cameras used in police patrol practices. Cameras were deployed to all patrol officers in the Rialto (CA) Police Department. Every police patrol shift during the 12-month period was assigned to experimental or control conditions.

Wearing cameras was associated with dramatic reductions in use-of-force and complaints against officers. The authors conclude:
"The findings suggest more than a 50% reduction in the total number of incidents of use-of-force compared to control-conditions, and nearly ten times more citizens’ complaints in the 12-months prior to the experiment."

We applaud Chief Farrar for his commitment to conducting rigorous scientific research on a technology initiative that has broad implications for the field of policing. The full report, coauthored with Dr. Barak Ariel, Cambridge University, can be found at the following link.http://www.policefoundation.org/content/body-worn-camera

See the New York Times report on the study.

Author information:
Barak Ariel, PhD, Jerry Lee Fellow in Experimental Criminology and Teaching Associate in the Police Executive Programme, Cambridge University.

Chief Tony Farrar, Executive Fellow, Police Foundation & Chief of Police, Rialto Police Department

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